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The resveratrol (RSV) efficacy to affect the proliferation of several cancer cell lines was initially examined. RSV showed higher potency to decrease growth of metastatic HeLa and MDA-MB-231 (IC50 = 200–250 μM) cells than of low metastatic MCF-7, SiHa and A549 (IC50 = 400–500 μM) and non-cancer HUVEC and 3T3 (IC50≥600 μM) cells after 48 h exposure. In order to elucidate the biochemical mechanisms underlying RSV anti-cancer effects, the energy metabolic pathways and the oxidative stress metabolism were analyzed in HeLa cells as metastatic-type cell model. RSV (200 μM/48 h) significantly decreased both glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) protein contents (30–90%) and fluxes (40–70%) vs. non-treated cells. RSV (100 μM/1–5 min) also decreased at a greater extent OxPhos flux (net ADP-stimulated respiration) of isolated tumor mitochondria (> 50%) than of non-tumor mitochondria (< 50%), particularly with succinate as oxidizable substrate. In addition, RSV promoted an excessive cellular ROS (2–3 times) production corresponding with a significant decrement in the SOD activity (but not in its content) and GSH levels; whereas the catalase, glutahione reductase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase activities (but not their contents) remained unchanged. RSV (200 μM/48 h) also induced cellular death although not by apoptosis but rather by promoting a strong mitophagy activation (65%). In conclusion, RSV impaired OxPhos by inducing mitophagy and ROS over-production, which in turn halted metastatic HeLa cancer cell growth.RSV preferentially blocks metastatic cancer cell growth.RSV deters cancer cell growth by impairing cellular respiration and glycolysis.RSV also promotes ROS over-production and mitophagy activation.